(Bloomsbury Press/SOAS Studies in Modern and Contemporary Japan, 2018)
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Japan’s Occupation of Java in the Second World War draws upon written and oral Japanese, Indonesian, Dutch and English-language sources to narrate the Japanese occupation of Java as a transnational intersection between two complex Asian societies, placing this narrative in a larger wartime context of domestic, regional, and global crisis.
Japan’s occupation of Java is here revealed in a radically new and nuanced light, as an ambiguous encounter revolutionary in the degree of mutual interests that drew the two sides together, fascinating and tragic in its evolution, and profound in the legacies left behind. Mark structures his study around a diverse group of Japanese and Indonesians captivated by the wartime vision of a ‘Greater Asia.’ The book is not only the first transnational study of Japan’s wartime occupation of Java, but the first to focus on the Second World War experience in transnational terms ‘on the ground’ anywhere in Asia.
Breaking new ground interpretatively, thematically and narratively, Mark’s monumental study is of vital significance for students and scholars of modern Asian and global history.
“With clear-eyed recognition of the hypocrisy of Japan’s project to ‘liberate’ Indonesia, Mark brilliantly explores the profound ironies of the Japanese wartime occupation. He identifies the grounds on which Japanese rulers and their local partners forged an ultimately doomed alliance: common enemies and a seductive shared rhetoric of promoting ‘Asian’ culture. He takes seriously the efforts of a wide array of Indonesians to turn wartime crisis into opportunity for their nation and themselves. A pioneering work in the transnational history of World War II in Asia.”
– Andrew Gordon, Harvard University
Ethan Mark is Associate Professor of Modern Japanese and Asian History in the Japanese and Asian Studies programs at Leiden University, The Netherlands.